Trucking News Update 2/12/18

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Controversy Swirls Around President Trump’s Infrastructure Plan and Its Effect on Trucking

Plenty of controversy, particularly regarding its effect on the trucking industry, swirls around President Trump’s newly unveiled infrastructure plan. The proposed plan calls for states and cities to privatize infrastructure funding, say to fix roads and bridges, instead of using federal spending. Even more notable for the trucking industry, the plan proposes to repeal the current ban on interstate tolling, allow for the commercialization of rest areas, and alter the types of projects supported by federal funds, according to an article in Overdrive Magazine. The American Trucking Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association have both strongly suggested raising per-gallon taxes on gasoline and diesel instead of increasing or creating more tolls. Lawmakers have yet to approve Trump’s proposal.

The Uncertain Reality of ELD EnforcementELD Compliant

“There’s going to be a learning curve, and I think most states are trying to err on the side of caution.” Those words, spoken by Capt. Chris Turner of the Kansas State Highway Patrol, are at the heart of the unpredictable and controversial ELD enforcement reality. ELD enforcement officers aren’t sure how strongly to press the electronic logging device mandate with truckers that still don’t have one, especially since no out-of-service penalties will be issued until April. Truckers without ELDs could get citations, however. And then there’s the hours-of-service controversy, specifically the complaint that a computer can’t comprehend the difficulties truckers face with parking during down time. Todd Dills of Overdrive Magazine offers a compelling piece that details the uncertain reality of ELD enforcement.

Heavy Truck Sales Soar to Record Numbers in January

How’s this for great New Year’s news? Orders for new trucks are at their highest peak since 2006. North American Classes 5-8 net orders were 80,400 units in January, which is the second highest of all time behind March 2006, reports Fleetowner.com. But the story doesn’t end there. In December 2017, North American Class 8 net orders stayed strong, towering above 2016 levels. Heavy truck orders topped out at 37,500 units in December, which was a 75% rise over the previous year, according to a Fleetowner.com article. What does this all mean? It means the trucking industry is healthy, and all signs point to it being robust in 2018 and 2019. January is usually a slow month in the trucking industry, but heavy truck sales are one of many indicators that business isn’t as usual. And that’s great New Year’s news!

DOT Report Sheds Light on Effects of Detention

That controversial detention topic continues to be a talker. The US Department of Transportation has issued one of the first reports of its kind focused on the effects of detention – from cuts on driver pay by $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion annually to industry crash risks climbing 6.2%, according to an article by James Jaillet on CCJ Daily Report. Then there’s the issue of ELDs providing hardline data of detention time. But ELDs can’t offer any anecdotal data, and while the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has collected some of that anecdotal detention time data, it has no plans to verify it. So detention remains a topic of controversy, particularly when that detention surpasses the customary two-hour mark. Unfortunately, it’s an everyday reality for truckers and trucking companies.

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